Jai McDowall - Believe
Struggling for a gift for the mother-in-law this festive season? You could do worse than get them last year's Britain's Got Talent winner Jai McDowall's debut album Believe. Comprised of ten covers, from the likes of U2 and Faith Hill, it's hardly groundbreaking stuff but McDowall's decent vocals and some lush orchestral backing ensures that it's a pleasantly diverting listen.
As we mentioned when we covered Puddle Of Mudd's recent covers album, we're fine with covers as long as the artist chooses not to ape the original and instead puts their own spin on it. To his credit, McDowall does just that and while this extends to little more than putting an orchestral shine on them with his vocals front-and-centre, it's at least different enough to merit their existence. It doesn't always work - the album's major misstep is his softer, low-tempo take on Evanescence's 'Bring Me To Life' - but at times it feels utterly suited to the song, such as with his version of 'The Prayer' (not the Bloc Party one) with the delightful vocals of Hayley Westenra in tow. Maybe we're being overly kind what with it being close to Christmas and all, but Believe isn't anywhere near as bad as it could have been.